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Expanding paternity leave in Southeast Asia

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STATUTORY rights to maternity leave are available to working women in 185 countries, but only 78 offer statutory rights to paternity leave. Nordic countries set the global benchmark for policies that support men’s involvement in parenting, but paternity leave is fast becoming a hot topic in Southeast Asia.

Among other countries in the region, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia have each instituted paternity leave policies of varying durations, wage replacement rates, funding sources and eligibility requirements.

The Philippines first introduced national paternity leave legislation in 1996, providing married fathers employed in the private and public sectors with seven working days of paid leave at full pay for up to four children.

In 2019, changes to the Maternity Leave Act came into effect allowing any female worker entitled to maternity leave to transfer up to 7 of her 105 days of paid leave to the child’s father, regardless of whether they are married or not. This new policy means men are eligible for up to 14 paid leave days and makes the Philippines a pacesetter in the region.

SEE ALSO: Keeping it in the family: Southeast Asia’s powerful political dynasties

Mandatory, state-sponsored paternity leave paid from social insurance came into effect in Vietnam in 2016. Employed, married fathers are entitled to paid paternity leave for between five to 14 days. The duration of allowed leave depends on the type of birth, number of children born and if the child is adopted.

Meanwhile in Myanmar, employed fathers have been entitled to 15 days........

© Asian Correspondent